I’m not a screamer. Oh, get your mind out of the gutter, I’m not talking about sex. It’s just that while I am admittedly afraid of almost everything, I don’t scream.
Nope. I’m not a screamer. I am more of a suck-in-my-breath-loudly-and-clutch-my-breast-and-let-out-a-sharp-yelper.
In horror movies, despite the fact that there is a serial murderer on the loose who wears long metal claws on his hands with which he tears out women’s throats before killing them, the young women go downstairs to check out a strange noise in the basement without turning on the lights. What’s up with that? Is their electric bill too high? And when they encounter the above-mentioned serial murderer, they stand completely frozen to the spot and SCREAM. And then they get their throats cut.
Not me. I would suck in my breath loudly and clutch my breast and let out a sharp yelp. Plus I would have turned on the light. Plus I would run like hell.
I don’t even scream on the rare occurrence when I lose my sanity and agree to go on a roller coaster. That has happened exactly twice in my life if I don’t count Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain, both of which are relatively tame (though Space Mountain does have the added disadvantage of being dark so you can’t see when you are about to plummet). California Adventure – part of Disneyland – has a roller coaster called California Screamin’. It’s called that because purportedly that’s what you do when you ride it – scream.
A couple of years ago when Bill and I went to Disneyland, he somehow convinced me to go on California Screamin’. I can’t imagine why I said yes, but it had something to do with the fact that he had gone on Small World with me. Not only is it a serious roller coaster, but it has one of those loopty loops. I still can’t believe I agreed to ride. Anyway, the ride begins with a recorded voice that says, five, four, three, two, one……scureeeeeeeeeeeeeem! And then the coaster takes off about a thousand miles an hour and stays at that speed for what feels like three hours. I was terrified. My eyes were tightly closed. But I didn’t scream – not one single time. Instead, I spent the entire ride with my eyes shut and praying the Hail Mary prayer over and over out loud, interspersed with an occasional Oh My God.
The other day, Bill and I were walking home from the neighborhood grocery store. Since I tell stories almost daily that involve walking home from the grocery store, you must think I spend my days at the local market. And you would be nearly right. I go at least once a day. But on this day, we stepped off the sidewalk to walk across the street to our neighborhood. I was looking for oncoming cars and not looking down. Just as I set my feet down on the street, Bill said, “SNAKE!”
I sucked in my breath loudly and clutched my breast and let out a sharp yelp. And jumped into the air about three feet.
“Well, it’s a dead snake,” Bill said somewhat sheepishly, understanding immediately that I might have had a heart attack.
And it was dead. And flat from being run over. But it was still a snake, a rattlesnake to boot. And to be fair to Bill, I’m not sure I would have reacted any differently if he had yelled out, “DEAD SNAKE!” A snake is a snake, my friends.
When I went back later after calming down, intending to take a photo of the snake to show my sister Jen just how close to deadly wildlife our house is, the snake was gone. As it had been as flat as a tortilla, there is no chance it slithered away on its own. My money is on a high school kid picking it up, and my heart goes out to the poor kid with the locker next to his who opened his locker door the next day to find a snake hanging from the top of the locker.
I’ll bet he screamed.